The unfinished Temple of the Precious Blood (Templo de la Preciosa Sangre)

The unfinished Temple of the Precious Blood (Templo de la Preciosa Sangre) from the XIX Century

Introduction

When you visit Puerto Vallarta you may want to enjoy a trip back in time, a cooler climate, a small colonial town in the Sierra, if that’s the case, Mascota is a great option.

The name itself is not from the Spanish language (where it would be translated as “pet”), rather from Teco, “Amaxacotlán Mazacotla“, which means, the place of deer and snakes.

During the Spanish conquest, it was called The Valley of Deer. The original population, the ones in charge of the current name, were Teco Indians.

About Mascota (Jalisco, Mexico)

Mascota, population 8,215 inhabitants, is located in the NW of Jalisco State, at approximately 1200 meters over sea level, strategically located between Guadalajara (at 120 miles http://goo.gl/maps/bYLFa), capital of the state, and Puerto Vallarta (60 miles away), one of the most famous tourist destinations in the country.

Hacienda Mascota

Mascota Hacienda

The municipality of Mascota is located in the plateau of the Western Sierra Madre mountain chain, the municipality includes 40 small towns, among those Mascota, is the largest and is also the seat of the local municipal government.

Mascota is a region of beautiful panoramas, where valleys, mountains, forests, and rivers. The locals are kind, happy, and very proud of their history.

When you drive into Mascota you immediately notice it is a beautiful and picturesque town like you’ve traveled back in time, to a quiet, peaceful period, you’ll also notice that the air is cooler here especially if you compare it with Puerto Vallarta.

Streets of Mascota

Streets of Mascota (Jalisco, Mexico)

It’s a small town that invites you to lay back and relax. Old-fashion cobblestone streets flanked by colonial style houses.

Don’t forget to enjoy the local food and delicacies, on a fresh afternoon or in the morning ask for a “café de olla”, eat some homemade cookies and purchase some of the many local sweets, stuffed guayabas, sour guayabita, camote sweets, mango skins and more. Another option, for adults, includes different types of “rompopes”, which is like eggnog, variants include vanilla, chestnut or the season fruits and berries, for people that enjoy something with more kick, what about a close encounter with a shot of Raicilla?

Mascota from the hill

Mascota from the hill

In the second half of the XVII Century Mascota established itself in its current location, families built their houses where and how they felt like, so when the time came to build roads and urbanize the town, it was impossible without tearing some houses down, the final result was a town with an erratic street layout, which has its charm, so, no, it was not a drunkard that designed it all…

Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores Parish, Mascota

Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores Parish, Mascota

It’s located on Chivato Hill and on the shores of the Mascota river a tributary of the Ameca river that flows into the Bay of Banderas close to Puerto Vallarta. The average annual temperature is 21.8ºC (71.2ºF), the rainy season is from June to October.

Church in the town of Navidad

Local Church in the town of Navidad, Mascota

What to do in Mascota

The natural attractions that surround Mascota, which include forests, lagoons, and mountains are perfect as family picnic areas and great for hikes and family strolls.

Corrinchis dam

Corrinchis dam

At localities like the Corrinchis Dam, where you can enjoy regional dishes at one of the many small restaurants, Juanacatlan Lagoon and El Malpais, locals and tourists alike enjoy hiking, horseback riding, kayak or boat tours, rappelling, rock climbing, and fishing in the lagoons.

El Molcajete Volcano

El Molcajete Volcano, 3 miles Northeast of Mascota

The petrified field at El Malpaís is located a mile northeast of Mascota, it is said that during a day of strong volcanic activity the whole place was covered with ashes and lava. There is a legend that states that people have found a fruit orchard in the middle of the fields, they’d eat some of the fruit, and later when they’d try to find the place again, they couldn’t.

Juanacatlán pond

Juanac